Open & Gross Conduct/Lewd And Lascivious Behavior

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Governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 Section 16, the crime of “Open and Gross Conduct or Lewd and Lascivious Behavior” is a felony offense, and is classified as one a “Crime Against Chastity, Morality, Decency and Good Order.” Because it is a felony-level offense, a conviction carries significant sentencing penalties. While the statute does not define precisely what constitutes “open and gross conduct or lewd and lascivious behavior,” the courts in Massachusetts have established the legal definitions for the offense.

In order for the prosecution to obtain a conviction on this charge, it must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant engaged in the following acts:

  1. That he or she exposed his or her genitals, buttocks or breasts to an unwilling witness
  2. That he or she acted intentionally and openly (i.e., no unintentional mistakes were made.) Note, however, that “openly” does not necessarily require a public location.
  3. That he or she acted with reckless disregard of public exposure (i.e., couldn’t care less)
  4. That he or she acted in a manner intended to cause shock or distress by those witnessing
  5. That he or she did in fact cause shock or distress to one or more persons witnessing

Note that, in Massachusetts, breastfeeding is not legally construed to be lewd and lascivious conduct.

It is not uncommon for a charge of open and gross or lewd and lascivious behavior to involve public masturbation. Almost always, this offense exhibits issues of mental illness. The law is intended to punish individuals who display lewdness on unwilling witnesses, but it does not prohibit constitutionally protected forms of expression. Also, the law does not apply to sexual conduct that takes place in an environment or an area where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. As an example, if an individual accidentally witnessed you engaged in a sexual act while looking through your home window, it is not likely that this would constitute a charge of Open and Gross Conduct or Lewd and Lascivious Behavior. Indecent exposure, which is another Massachusetts sex offense, is a different legal version of Open and Gross Conduct or Lewd and Lascivious Behavior. Click here to learn more about the legal definitions and penalties associated with the Massachusetts crime of indecent exposure.

Punishment and Penalties

Because it is a felony offense, convictions of Open and Gross Conduct or Lewd and Lascivious Behavior are punishable by a maximum of 3 years in state prison, or a maximum of 2 years in a House of Correction/County Jail, or by a maximum fine of $300.00. Aside from jail sentences or fines imposed, the worst impact that a conviction on this charge can bring is the damage to your name and reputation that will follow any conviction. This kind of consequential damage can radiate out to impact your job and career opportunities, educational opportunities, and even housing opportunities. It is one of those crimes that even if done in jest (“flashing,”) can come back to haunt you later in life if a conviction results.

Given these impacts, if you are charged with this offense, you will need an experienced Massachusetts sex crimes defense lawyer. Our Open and Gross Conduct/Lewd and Lascivious Behavior defense lawyers know how to defend these cases, and know what is at stake for you. We know how to either have these charges reduced or dropped, or if that is not possible, we draw on over 20 years of successful results to take these cases to trial – and we know how to win.

Make The Intelligent Choice

At the Law Offices of William D. Kickham and Associates, we have over 20 years’ experience in successfully defending charges of Open and Gross Conduct/Lewd and Lascivious Behavior, as well as a variety of other Massachusetts sex crime charges. As a former Special Assistant District Attorney, Attorney William D. Kickham knows how prosecutors approach these charges, and he knows how they strategize these cases. With Attorney William D. Kickham standing in front of you, you will benefit from the best legal defense possible. Call us at Ph.: (781) 320-0062, or Ph.: (617) 285-3600, and we’ll provide you with a free initial consultation. Or click here for a free consultation.

Aggressive Criminal Defense Coupled With Intelligent Strategy

In every case, there is a time to get tough, and a time to be diplomatic. A time to stay with the script; a time to react to the moment. We use every strategy legally available, to your best legal advantage. We know exactly how to successfully defend these cases. We know that your future is at stake, and we don’t take it lightly.

A History of Superior Legal Results Makes The Choice Easier

Click on our Proven Results Page to see a partial sampling of what our criminal defense clients have had to say about Attorney William Kickham. Or click on Attorney Kickham’s Professional Avvo rating

Call us at Ph.: (781) 320-0062, or Ph.: (617) 285-3600, and we’ll provide you with a free initial consultation. Or click here for a free consultation. We will review all police reports involved, review the facts, and Attorney Kickham give you his frank opinion regarding your case. You will be told upfront what the weak or strong points are in your case, and we’ll explain exactly how we can help you. We will do all of this as part of a free initial consultation, and you’ll be under no obligation from there. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by calling us. The sooner we can begin defending you as your attorney, the better off you are going to be.

We appear before all District and Superior Courts in Eastern Massachusetts. Westwood and Boston, Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer William D. Kickham has appeared as a legal analyst on a variety of respected media, including Court TV (now In Session on HLN,) Fox News TV-25/Boston, The Boston Herald, WBZ-AM Radio 1030, WCVB-TV5/Boston, Nightside With Dan Rea, Greater Boston With Emily Rooney, Money Matters Radio/Boston, and The Metro Newspaper/Boston. Attorney William D. Kickham is turned to by respected reporters and media organizations in Massachusetts as an authoritative expert in the field of criminal defense law, and the case results he produces for his clients attest to this. Call us today at Ph.: (781) 320-0062, or Ph.: (617) 285-3600, to arrange for a free initial consultation of your case. If the matter is not an emergency, you can email us here for a free initial consult and we will respond to you very promptly.

Partial List of Client Reviews

PLEASE NOTE: TO PROTECT OUR CLIENTS’ PRIVACY, TESTIMONIALS CAN ONLY DISPLAY A CLIENT’S FIRST AND LAST INITIALS.

  • ★★★★★
    When I was arrested for DUI, I was absolutely terrified. Had it not been for you, I might have been convicted of something I was not at all guilty of. My work life, my family life, my reputation, all could have been destroyed. You stood by me like the legal version of a bodyguard - and because of you, I was found not guilty.
  • ★★★★★
    When we got the call that our son had been arrested and charged with rape, we almost fainted. We know our son. He is not violent; he has never abused anyone, let alone another girl… If not for you and your "take no prisoners" attitude, our son might have been convicted of a crime that would have sent him to state prison. As far as we're concerned, our son owes you his life, and we owe you the world. We will never forget you.
  • ★★★★★
    I hired Mr. William D. Kickham for a very important legal issue and I was extremely satisfied by the results. His in depth knowledge about the matter and his intelligent thinking was extremely beneficial. He is really an expert. He was also very supportive and sensitive towards my concerns. It was great to have a lawyer of his capacity. Thanks William for all the Help.
  • ★★★★★
    Atty. Kickham defended me on a charge of raping my girlfriend, who made up the whole story out of revenge because I was interested in someone else. If it weren’t for Attorney Kickham proving me innocent, God knows what might have happened to me.
  • ★★★★★
    Mr. Kickham represented me on a trumped-up charge of domestic violence. The prosecutor and police wouldn’t back down, even after my spouse told them it was all untrue. They insisted on taking me to trial, and Mr. Kickham never wavered. He was my legal bodyguard, and I was found not guilty.
  • ★★★★★
    Of the many talents Atty. Kickham has, two are these: 1) He is ten times as persuasive as the best lawyer you’ve seen in the movies; and 2) Nothing - but nothing - gets by him. The police arrested me on completely false drug charges, and after a heated courtroom battle, Atty. Kickham won the day. Trust me, it was no surprise.
  • ★★★★★
    Because I mildly disciplined my child for throwing a tantrum, I was actually charged with child abuse. It was horrifying. Atty. Kickham fought for me tooth and nail, until I was declared not guilty. One hell of a lawyer.
  • ★★★★★
    I complimented a co-worker on her looks and patted her on the back as I did so. Two hours later, the police showed up and accused me of indecent assault & battery. From the day I hired him, Atty. Kickham fought the DA’s office until the charges were dropped. If not for him, my life would have been ruined.
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